What is Four Wheel Alignment?
[youtube width=”500″ height=”350″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAp3KwdKsS8[/youtube]
Since the car was invented it has been important that all four wheels point in the same direction!
Over time as the car and its components have evolved, so has the way cars steering and suspension set up or geometry is measured.
The modern car is built for comfort, performance and handling. In order to achieve and maintain the best ride possible, the steering and suspension needs to be measured and adjusted within the motor manufacturer’s specifications. This can only be done by measuring all four wheels and having a proper full four wheel alignment measurement.
If only the fronts are set straight, through having a Tracking, two-wheel alignment, or Toe & Go, and the rear wheels remain out of alignment (and not adjusted), your car could still suffer tyre wear, pulling and crooked steering wheel.
Isn’t Four wheel alignment just for 4×4’s?
No definitely not. All cars have four wheels and it is important all four are measured, in relation to one another to check they are all pointing in the same direction/ thrust line.
Can the car be aligned with worn tyres – or do I need to fit new tyres first?
New or old tyre fitted will make little difference to the alignment readings.
They will however have a big effect on the way the car feels to drive (even after the alignment has been corrected). Where there was a high degree of misalignment and hence tyre wear present it would be recommended to have new tyres fitted at the time of the alignment adjustments are made.
By having an alignment will my problem always be solved?
Usually but not always. Cars have wheel alignment difficulties through being either out of adjustment (correctable) or by having bent components or even the car body/subframe to which they bolt being bent. How many new parts are needed? Does the car need to visit a bodyshop?
Where adjustments are not possible you will be kept informed and can liase with the Hunter equipped alignment centre as to possible next actions.
Will the alignment shop always have the alignment data for my car?
Generally speaking yes they should, there are enormous amounts of factory issued alignment data available – especially to the Hunter aligner user. On occasions very new vehicles – or some imports, may need the data obtaining specifically for that car. This is very unusual and should not be a problem. Some Hunter sites will have WebSpecs allowing missing data to be found straight away, on line.
My alignment centre advised me that my car needed to be loaded with weights – is this right?
Yes, certain makes and models of cars do need weighting to carry out the alignment in accordance to the motor manufacturer’s settings.
I have had some parts changed on my suspension; does my car need an alignment check?
Yes it will. Any change in parts/components of either steering or suspension will mean the car will need a full four wheel alignment.
Important Note: On certain modern cars to gain access to clutch, or other components, the sub frame needs to be lowered. By doing this will also affect the geometry so it is important when this happens to also have a four wheel alignment.
My car is lowered and I struggle to get anyone to measure it correctly?
A more common query relates to what is the correct alignment data on modified cars or cars where the ride height has been lowered or ‘slammed’.
There is no data – and this is where the skill and interpretation by the alignment operator will assist in finding suitable settings. Often aftermarket adjustment kits are needed. Its fair to say that the optimum settings may not be found completely at the first alignment – and a subsequent revisit after a nominal mileage may be advised to confirm tyre wear is satisfactory/make a further adjustment. Some Hunter alignment centres have ‘WinAlign Tuner’ software that takes out the guess work of settings
I have had my wheels aligned but the tyres are still wearing
In the most cases, if your tyres were wearing and had a wear pattern ahead of the alignment, they will continue to wear in that wear pattern until replaced with new tyres –even with the alignment correct!
If they were new tyres fitted after the alignment and they are still wearing, may be the wheels have bumped a pothole or kerb since. If the workshop where you had your alignment carried out, did not provide you with a printout of a ‘job well done’ – the wheels may have been adjusted incorrectly? Try a Hunter Alignment Centre that does give you a printout!
If you have a printout, do go back to the Centre and discuss. Be civil as in most cases they will be only too pleased to help find the route of the problem for you.
I have had my wheels balanced and my four wheel alignment checked, but my car is still suffering from vibration and a slight pull?
This may be the case. There is another issue that affects cars called Road Force Variation (RFV) where a hard spot in the make up of the tyre can give a vibration. Also the flexibility in the tyre or Conicity can contribute to a pull on the car called Lateral Force. Very few outlets/workshops are aware of this, but specialists with GSP9700 Road Force Balancer will be able to identify this. You can locate them through www.BalanceMyCar.co.uk.